Ted Shaw Blog

The Rees-Jones Trauma Center at Parkland Memorial Hospital, Dallas, was bustling during my time at Parkland, and it is still today, as with most Texas trauma centers.

As Jorie Klein, director of nursing for the trauma program at the Rees-Jones Trauma Center at Parkland Memorial Hospitals, Dallas, stated in a recent editorial, trauma is an equalizer. It does not discriminate. Trauma can and does happen to anyone.

Many people, in fact.

Texas trauma centers provide life-sustaining treatments to more than 130,000 trauma victims annually.

This treatment is often long and resource intensive. Average inpatient length of stay for significant trauma injuries is almost nine days.

Texas trauma centers’ annual uncompensated care costs exceed $300 million.

Yet, the Texas Legislature currently is considering multiple pieces of legislation to repeal or dilute the primary source of funding for Texas trauma hospitals.

This legislation threatens trauma centers’ ability to continue providing life-saving care.

That’s why Texas hospitals are working with lawmakers to help them understand the priceless return on the state’s investment in Texas trauma hospitals.

Without dedicated state funding, it is highly likely that fewer Texans will get the lifesaving care they need in the event of terror, natural disasters and the more prevalent motor vehicle accidents.

Click here to join THA’s trauma funding support campaign and get updates on how you can take action to preserve our trauma hospital funding.

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Help Us Preserve Trauma Hospital Funding

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The 85th Texas Legislature convened in January to address the state’s top issues. Among them: state funding for Texas trauma hospitals.

Six pieces of legislation have been introduced this session to repeal the program that is the state’s primary source of trauma funding. Several other bills have been filed to amend the program and potentially reduce the amount of available funding. Whether directly or indirectly, all of this legislation jeopardizes essential resources that allow hospitals to save Texans’ lives.

To be clear, the lawmakers’ concerns lie not with the funding’s purpose—to offset some of the unreimbursed costs our trauma hospitals take on for providing life-saving trauma care to more than 130,000 Texans annually—but with the program itself.

But, this is a distinction without a difference when it comes to the future of trauma hospital funding.

Lawmakers will consider the repeal bills in three separate committees—homeland security and public safety, transportation and criminal jurisprudence—none of which are designed to address health care or health-related issues.

Starting in the interim and throughout session, it is THA’s goal to help lawmakers truly understand the life-saving care that trauma hospitals provide and the critical need for state funding, and a recent editorial in the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal does just that.

Mike Ragain, MD, chief medical offer at University Medical Center Health System, Lubbock, explains an important point that trauma does not discriminate. It can happen to anyone, and trauma hospitals need resources to continue providing life-sustaining treatments.

THA, with UMC Lubbock and others, will continue to work with Texas lawmakers to preserve trauma funding and identify solutions to the program that generates this revenue.  

Click here to join THA’s trauma funding support campaign and get updates on how you can take action to preserve our trauma hospital funding.

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